Professor Sir Dudley Seers 1920–1983

Professor Sir Dudler Seers

Professorial Fellow and Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex 1967–72.

Richard Jolly writes "A man of enormous energy and character who listed 'teasing bureaucrats' among his recreations in "Who's Who", Dudley's vision and personality was crucial to the early growth of the Institute of Development Studies in the sixties, and more broadly influential across Europe and the developing world.

Active service with the Royal Navy in 1941-45 was followed by a post as Senior Lecturer in Economic Statistics at the University of Oxford, then with the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) 1957-63, then Director at the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)1963-64, and Director General of Economic Planning at the Ministry of Overseas Development 1964-67. He also worked as consultant to several overseas governments, the World Bank, OECD and U.N. and was President of the European Association of Development Institutes (EADI). The personal contacts and friendships of these years, at the highest levels of so many governments, give a particularly fascinating inside view of international relations, expressed in his prolific correspondence and unpublished reports now indexed, for the first time, in these IDS archives.

A couple of quotations may give some of the flavour of his observations in unpublished journey reports. Much of his work concerned the post-war growth of the European Community:
'The Conference opened with Willi Brandt making a somewhat predictable speech about interdependency - perhaps more appropriate for a boy scouts jamboree than EADI.' Or, at a Cancun conference:
' when Reagan was extolling free markets and warning against subsidies, Nyerere leaned across and interposed sweetly "Does this mean you've stopped subsidizing farm products?" This stopped Reagan completely!'"


Some key publications

  • Twenty Leading Questions on the Teaching of Economics in The Teaching of Development Economics, 1966
  • Development in a Divided World, 1971
  • (with Hollis Chenery) Redistribution with Growth, 1974
  • Statistical needs for development, 1977
  • Dependency theory: a Critical Reassessment, 1981
  • Also Editor of several key journals, including Oxford Economic Papers, The Economic Journal, Journal of Development Studies and IDS Bulletin.

The Dudley Seers archive houses a rich variety of material, including  unpublished and manuscript material, arranged with the help of archivist Oliver Pierce. The development of the archive was only possible through the generous and active support of Sir Richard Jolly, former IDS Director, Deputy-Director UNICEF, and long time friend and colleague of Sir Dudley Seers. The archive database concentrates on the unpublished materials.